Waldorf Education in the news

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Parents often wonder whether the lack of computer technology and curriculum exposure to software is hurting their child’s ability to ‘get ahead of the pack’ when it comes to secondary and post-secondary education. Much of this concern is driven by the media and technology itself. Recent studies and several articles in the NY Times and other print media have discussed this topic in great detail. The NY Times has published several articles over the last 10 months challenging the efficacy of technology based learning, especially for younger children. A few weeks ago, a staff writer, Matt Richtel got up-close and personal at Waldorf School of the Peninsula, in asking parents there, in the middle of Silicon Valley, why they were comfortable with a school that had no technology in the lower grades.

Families at WSP in Los Altos, CA are an interesting demographic, in that so many of them are working within the R&D and production areas of the latest technology. Their close proximity to the realities of the industry help them feel confident that their children are gaining skills and understanding that will serve them far into the future, while iphone apps and other software will be superseded (obsolete) in just a few years, long before their children enter college.

Granted, there is controversy about what is necessary, what is important, and what is icing on the cake. Waldorf Education will always take the position that technology, properly applied, is not bad, but that timing is everything! Using a tool is only appropriate when you know how it works and what the results will be when you ‘start the engine’.

If teaching is a human experience, then engagement, contact with the teacher, with other students, with color and multitudes of medium to express their burgeoning ideas can give young children familiarity with all the trappings they’ll need to be creative and thoughtful. Whether they want to be electrical engineers, doctors, book editors, designers or horse whisperers, what really stays the course for them is their acute sense of curiosity and interest in a wide variety of people, places and ideas which will guarantee they will be asking questions their whole lives long.

The NY Times article does not glorify Waldorf Education and presents dissenting opinions, but the quotes from actual parents are affecting. If you haven’t read this article, don’t miss it, and if you have, send it on to a skeptical friend. Find the link on our homepage at www.waldorfatlanta.org

 

~Sara Walsh

Administrator

 

This article originally appeared in the December 2011 edition of the Garden Breeze newsletter of the Waldorf School of Atlanta.  

The Gift of Learning

The Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship commissioned ITN to make this short film to look at some of the key features of a Steiner School including:

• how Steiner Schools nurture spiritual development in keeping with the cultural setting of the school and without being tied to a particular faith

• the emphasis on “doing” to complement academic learning

• how the absence of testing in the younger years nurtures enthusiasm for learning

• the importance of quietness and contemplation as part of the school day.

What is a Steiner School?

The following video offers a beautiful glimpse into life at a Waldorf School. (Waldorf Schools are also known as Steiner Schools for school founder, Rudolf Steiner). This video was made for the Steiner Fellowship in the UK.

WSA on NPR

We have been enjoying wonderful open houses recently with fabulous groups of parents coming to see what WSA makes so unique. Follow the links below to hear the announcements on NPR. You may also click here for the current open house schedule.

Where All Students Are Encouraged To Be Musicians, Artists and Thinkers

The Lively Art Of Learning


Grade Two and the Tales of Tiptoes Lightly

Second grade parent, Rhonda Wildman, recently made some puppets for Ms. Crowley to use with the Tiptoes stories. Author Reg Down has featured her work on his website along with the lovely thank you cards she received from the children.  You can view all of the cards in his Children’s Art Album. See Rhonda’s blog, Joy Grows, to read more.

What fun to see our school featured on the site of this wonderful author, teacher, and eurythmist!

Waldorf Education in the news

Beginning with the recent New York Times article about Waldorf Education and technology, Waldorf schools have been receiving tremendous attention in the news this fall.

In response to discussions about the role of technology in the classroom, Patrice Maynard wrote the following letter to the editor of the NY Times:

To the Editors,
The right tool at the right time is the slogan that reflects the view of the child we hold in Waldorf Education.
People and life are the right tools for little ones: play, imitating older folk, learning how to jump, run, coordinate arms and legs, laugh, sleep, breathe. The little child’s tool is itself!
In middle childhood all tools are for learning competence and integration. With a healthy body and a strong heart the child can sing, count, calculate, play an instrument, dance, act things out, memorize, draw, paint, investigate the wonders of the world, and imagine the world beyond what is known. Through this era an enthusiastic student emerges.
Then come sophisticated tools of compass, drafting materials, microscopes, computers, stage lighting, microphones and kilns – when the student knows what is needed and what needs to be done. The student remains the master and the inventions remain the tools.
Patrice Maynard, M.Ed. Leader, Outreach & Development Association of Waldorf Schools of North America Ghent, New York

Photo: Jim Wilson/New York Times

You can find a list of recent articles through Why Waldorf Works by clicking here.